Tony O'Kane | Jun 2, 2016

While drivers of the all-electric Tesla Model S and Model X will continue to enjoy free lifetime access to the company’s network of Supercharger fast-charge stations, buyers of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 won’t receive the same perk.

Speaking at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3 wouldn’t come with free Supercharger access in order to keep its purchase cost low.

“Free Supercharging fundamentally has a cost. The obvious thing to do is decouple that from the cost of the Model 3,” Musk told shareholders on Tuesday.

“It will still be very cheap - and far cheaper than gasoline - to drive long-distance with the Model 3. But it will not be free long distance for life.”

Model 3 owners will be able to buy Supercharger access as a cost option, though Musk did not reveal pricing for the package.

There are currently 7 Supercharger locations located along Australia’s East coast between Melbourne and Brisbane, and 632 globally.

By supplying a higher current than the standard Tesla wall charger (the type which Tesla owners would have installed at home), a Supercharger station is able to give a Model S around 270km of additional range in half an hour.

Over the same period of time, a conventional 15-amp wall outlet would only supply enough kilowatts for 17km of driving.

The Model 3 has yet to enter production, however the all-electric midsize sedan has already attracted huge pre-sales interest.

When the order books officially opened at the end of March. Prospective buyers literally lined up to place deposits - which cost $1500 in Australia - and the total number of orders currently numbers over 373,000.

Full range pricing has yet to be revealed for the Model 3, but Tesla has confirmed that it will start at US$35,000 in the United States. First deliveries are expected in late 2017, though if past experience with the Model S is anything to go by, Australian deliveries will likely start in 2018.

Precise performance specs are still under wraps too, but the Model 3 will, at the barest minimum, be able to hit 100km/h in under six seconds, travel for nearly 250km on a single charge and boast a Supercharging capability as standard. 2WD and AWD drivetrains will be offered.


Model X Firmware Update Released

Meanwhile, Tesla has issued its first firmware update for the Model X SUV, with new features including one-touch remote closing for the doors and boot, plus the ability to adjust the second row seats through the infotainment display.

The Model X also gains an update to its “Summon” feature, which allows the car to autonomously park and unpark itself. Now, like the Model S, drivers can nominate the Summon system’s direction of travel to ensure it has enough space to clear any nearby obstacles.

The update also addresses issues with the Model X’s gullwinged rear “Falcon Doors”, which numerous owners have reported will occasionally refuse to open or close.

MORE: Tesla News and Reviews

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